Sub-plots: Winger Ashley Young did himself no favours in Villa fans' eyes by winning a debatable penalty in the last fixture between the two sides. Despite serving the Midlands club well for four seasons, he probably won't be counting on the warmest of receptions on his return this Saturday.
Whistle blower: Leicestershire official Kevin Friend doesn't shy away from dishing out punishment. He's shown five or more cards in exactly half of the fixtures he's refereed this season. He last took charge of United in August, when the Reds beat Fulham 3-2 at Old Trafford.
Rivals watch: United have a great chance to build a lead at the top of the table this weekend (albeit temporarily, perhaps), given Chelsea and Manchester City both play on Sunday. Roberto Mancini's men host Tottenham in a lunchtime kick-off, while Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.